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Thoughts On 2016: Making It Count

With the passing of David Bowie and then a few short days later, Allan Rickman, it's tempting to let our spirits fall. And indeed, we've lost two amazing artists, men who brought all they had to their work, leaving impressions that will never be forgotten by the audiences they touched. But with their passing, I believe it helps to look beyond grief to an important message: life is precious. So create, LOVE creating, and show it by throwing all your passion into it. Don't wait.

As writers, artists, creators...making it count is the message we should take into tomorrow. Let's not put it off. We want this dream, to have our books read and enjoyed by people all over the world. Let's recommit to the path that will take us there, and use each moment in 2016 to its fullest. This is how we honor the great artists of our time, and how we honor ourselves.

I've put together a few links I think are important, ones I hope will help us all get into the mindset of making it count. For myself, I make a list of my goals, and think about areas I want to improve in that will help me grow as a writer and gain stronger business skills. (Writing is a business after all, and becoming adept on that side of things is just as important.)

One area I needed to tackle was FOCUS. Eliminating distractions. Why? In my home office, one of the walls is an open balcony and so noise from the lower level is always filtering into my writing zone. Luckily, I tripped upon Brain FM and gave the free trial a go. I was so happy with the product and my newfound ability to focus I signed up!

What can you do to evolve as a writer? Can planning a bit help you? If you are interested in this idea, start by asking yourself the big questions about self-improvement and how you organize your time. And if you like, I'll lead you through the process of creating a plan. Becca has some great advice as well, and it is interesting to see both sides of the coin when it comes to two writers using the same plan. 

Guys, I know words like business plan and organization can sound scary. They sure scared me, especially as I am not the most organized individual. But, here's the thing--once I started, my life as a writer changed, and I want yours to as well. As you can see below, I still follow a simple "Plan on a Page" each year (bottom). And I have a schedule for One Stop For Writers' upgrades for the next year there as well (top). Having these beside me as I work remind me of my goals, and keep me on task!

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 What 2016 Holds For Our Readers

June will be a big month. Yes, I'm talking about Setting book releases! Our titles are still a bit liquid, but our Urban Setting Volume will look at locations and a few iconic events that take place in a city environment (think places like a Subway Tunnel, Police Car, Hospital Room, Sewers, Night Club, Pawn Shop and Psychiatric Ward). Our Rural Settings volume covers places found in nature, around the home, and at school (for example, Basement, Forest, Classroom, Rodeo, Lake, Foster Home, Quarry and Boarding School).

Each book will have over 100 Setting Entries and provide tons of ideas on how to efficiently bring more sensory description into your writing. Setting is a powerful way to pull readers into your story world and characterize your novel's cast, yet of all the elements of fiction, it is surprisingly underutilized. We want to change that. Our hope is you'll never look at setting the same way again after reading these books. And even better, you'll add more tools to your writing toolbox, learning strong techniques to make sure you're getting every drop of storytelling magic out of each setting moving forward.

If June seems a little too long to wait, don't forget about One Stop For Writers, the completely searchable online library where we now store all completed descriptive thesaurus collections, and a lot more. The Setting Thesaurus will be added to One Stop in March as part of our scheduled site upgrade. (If you want to stay up-to-date on One Stop, you may wish to sign up to that newsletter.)

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Celebrating The Good Is Important Too

A great many wonderful things have happened between the end of last year and the start of this one, including a whopping 5 foreign rights offers within two days. We're thrilled because some of these offers were for the Positive and Negative Trait books, so they will join their sibling, The Emotion Thesaurus, in Korea and Japan.

Even more incredible, The Emotion Thesaurus reached 1000 reviews on Amazon. Becca and I are just blown away, never imagining such a thing possible and owe a GIGANTIC THANK YOU to all of you who contributed to this!

To celebrate, we are giving away a ton of our favorite books, so please swing by and put your name in to win. We'd love a newsletter subscriber or two to snag some of these terrific books.

Entries must be in by Friday Jan 15th, Midnight EST, so hurry on over.

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That's all for now! Becca and I have a mountain of work to do, so we best get to it. As always, thanks so much for signing up to receive our occasional newsletter scribblings.

Happy writing, and may 2016 be the best year yet!

Angela & Becca

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